Sunday, May 24, 2009


Author: Norma L. Betz
Copyright 2008
Paperback $14.95
ISBN 978--1-4343-1071-2
230 pages

When you have reached your goals and are content with life at the ripe-old-age of 27, why take a chance on anything else? That is the quandary for Susanna Smith. She is content leading her single life as a financial aide director of a small college in New Jersey. She has her dog, who is her best friend, and a wonderful mothering neighbor to make her life complete.

Susanna’s life is upset when she has to settle her aunt’s estate. Being that her parents were killed when she was nineteen, her single aunt had been a surrogate parent to Susanna at that time.

What makes this difficult for Susanna is that the estate was inherited from her ancestor, Abigail Adams. With her grandfather and aunt adding things which belonged in the collection throughout the years, the items are a true window into the past, especially, a collection of letters written by Abigail and sent to her husband prior to the Declaration of Independence signing.

Susanna is torn between her comfortable life in New Jersey and the inherited family obligation of living and caring for the house in Massachusetts. Susanna is also meeting friends from her aunt’s past, as well as an unsavory character who wants the collection and the letters to pay off his debts. She also develops a friendship with a special man who has the values and ethics of the right type of person for her.

The strength of DEAR JOHN is the historical aspect of the pre-revolutionary times through Abigail Adam’s eyes to her husband. The letters are delightful in that each one continues with the increasing problems of living near Boston during the time prior to the Declaration of Independence. These letters include her misspellings and the colloquial grammar of the time, which is a little difficult when compared to today’s language.

This is a fast-moving semi-mystery, almost-romance book. The plot is simple, the characters are few, and it is a quick and easy read. I feel that although it has both a mystery and the elements of a budding romance, this type of predictable novel tends a more towards the romance genre. I enjoyed reading this quick, cozy novel.

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